Football goalkeeper Henderson ‘smokes’ over lack of playing time at Man Utd

Aug 3 (Reuters) – Goalkeeper Dean Henderson said he was “annoyed” at the lack of playing time for Manchester United last season and that the last 12 months had been the toughest of his career.

The 25-year-old, who was loaned to newly promoted Nottingham Forest last month, played three times for United last season and was unable to replace David de Gea as first-choice goalkeeper.

Henderson appeared to be on the brink of breaking into United’s first-team last year, having played 26 games for the club in the 2020-21 season and being called up to England’s European Championship squad in June.

However, he had to withdraw from the England squad with a hip injury and then tested positive for COVID-19 weeks before the start of the 2021-2022 season, causing him to suffer from prolonged fatigue.

“To be honest, it’s probably been the toughest 12 months of my career,” Henderson told TalkSport on Tuesday. “The conversation I had when I came out of the European Championship team was, ‘You come back here to be number one.’

“I got COVID-19, came back, so I should still have been number one, but then no one followed what they told me. It was frustrating, because that’s why I turned down so many good loans last summer, and they wouldn’t let me go.

“Sit for twelve months, it’s really criminal, at my age. I was furious. I told the hierarchy to play football and let me go, and I was almost gone before the manager (Erik ten Hag) came through the door. I haven’t spoken to him since.’

Forest kicks off their Premier League campaign with a trip to Newcastle United on August 6.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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